When a police officer pulled over an Army vet, the interaction went a little differently than most traffic stops. William Jazwinski, a former Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Operator for the United States Army, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as do many other servicemen and women who return home to the United States. William returned from his 15-month tour in Iraq and had to seek treatment to deal with the pain of PTSD.
He kept a folded flag in his truck as a reminder of his time in Iraq, never realizing that it would lead to a very unique interaction with a police officer.
William was spotted by the officer and pulled over, but he couldn’t understand what he had done wrong – he wasn’t speeding and knew that his registration was compliant. He pulled over and had his license and registration ready, but the officer wasn’t concerned with any of that.
William explained the unlikely reason for the traffic stop on Facebook, writing:
“Me – Goodmorning officer. Was I speeding?
Officer – Goodmorning, no not speeding. Just wanted to stop ya and say thank you for your service.
Me – Oooh the bumper sticker, nice. You’re welcome sir. My pleasure.
Officer – Where did you serve?
Me – I went to Iraq. Did a 15 monther. Out of Ft Benning.
Officer – Well alright. My son went to Iraq. He didnt make it home.
Me – Man, I’m so sorry to hear that. I just finished a ptsd program.
Officer – I see you have a flag in the truck. The one we got for him! Well it’s at the house. Can I ask a question?
Me – sure.
Officer – Do you mind stepping out and receiving a hug. You remind me of my son. I pulled you over. I thought you were him. I still don’t believe it most days he’s gone.”
William added: “With tears in both our eyes I got out and hugged that man. I’m talking about for a minute or two crying. Down to our knees crying. I needed that. To all the family and friends of soldiers, fighting or done fighting, God bless you. Your peace and your hearts. It’s so hard without them, I know. This road is a tremendous one. Love to all.”
The officer’s support and their interaction was emotional, as both men clearly needed that hug. People were understandably moved by the story and left comments on William’s Facebook post, with one person noting: “What a beautiful story. God Bless all our service men and women and their sacrifice to protect this country.”
Another commenter wrote: “I am so grateful for your support and service as well as the officer’s son— if it wasn’t for your sacrifices and the others that sacrifice their lives for us back at home… we would not have our freedom. Thanks for your service and your sacrifices, from my heart and soul I am so grateful God bless you all, amen.”
One person noted how this small gesture meant so much, explaining: “And God bless the officer who stopped the car to thank the veteran!! That created a life changing event which has changed lives!”